A problem for many novice public speakers is what to do with their hands during a presentation. Standing at a lectern giving a speech is the not the same as addressing an audience for 20, 30 or 40 minutes without benefit of a scripted text or lectern. The presentation is a different animal than the speech. Those who deliver presentations usually take advantage of the entire stage upon which they stand or the front of the classroom or the head of the boardroom table. In these situations, many are unsure of what to do with those dangling appendages hanging down at their sides. |
Let me ask you a question. What do you do with your hands when you are in conversation? Think about that for a moment. Do you talk with your hands? Do you use them as part of your body language in speaking?
More than likely, your answer is yes. If such is the case, why not use your hands during your presentation just like you would use your hands in conversation?
Part of dynamic public speaking is making eye contact with your audience. What this means is that you are acknowledging all who are in attendance, from the right side of the room, to the middle and then to the left. There is no formula for this. It is the same thing you would do if you were telling a story to a group of people at a party. And, if you are aware of those to whom you are talking, you will make eye contact, you will move, you will speak with your entire body. You will exhibit facial expression as well as tonal variety in your voice. If these are the traits that you use in normal conversation, they should be part of the traits that you use in giving a presentation.
We are under the mistaken belief that we should be someone or something else in public speaking. Why? Why not be yourself? Why not treat your audience just as if you were having a conversation in your living room? The best in the business do this. Listen to Zig Ziglar or Mark Victor Hansen. Both of these world-renowned presenters treat their audience in a conversational manner. They look around the room acknowledging their entire audience. In fact, off-stage, they sound and act just like they did on-stage.
Next time you are scheduled to speak, use your hands just like you would in conversation and you won’t have to think about what to do with them!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.
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